Direct-write micro- and nanostructuring laser technologies are very important for the fabrication of new materials and multifunctional devices. Using tightly focused femtosecond laser pulses one can produce submicrometer holes and periodic structures in metals, semiconductors, and dielectrics on arbitrarily shaped surfaces. The achievable structure size is not restricted by the diffraction limit. It is determined by material properties and the laser pulse stability. We report investigations of possibilities to use femtosecond laser pulses for nanostructuring of different materials. © 2005 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers.